VEON Ltd., a global digital operator that provides mobile connectivity and services, announced Tuesday that the group’s VEON Ventures division has completed a $15 million investment as part of a Series A round for Dastgyr, a Pakistan-based business to business (B2B) e-commerce marketplace platform.
This investment will contribute towards boosting Pakistan’s e-commerce market, VEON said in a statement.
The deal is VEON Ventures’ largest investment in a Pakistani start-up and reflects the group’s continued commitment to the region and to the growth of Pakistan’s digital economy.
VEON Ventures’ investment in Dastgyr Series A funding was made alongside Zinal Growth, DEG, Khwarizmi Ventures, OTF Jasoor Ventures, Cedar Mundi Ventures, Reflect Ventures, Century Oak Capital, Haitou Global, GoingVC, Astir Ventures, K3 Diversity Ventures, Chandaria Capital, along with the founders of Property Finder, Ayoconnect, Quiqup and senior management from DoorDash.
Dastgyr will remain an independent entity, with a minority position being taken by VEON Ventures. The new investment round will support Dastgyr’s expansion into 15 new cities in Pakistan, alongside its existing network in Karachi, Lahore, Sialkot and Gujranwala.
“As part of VEON’s transformation into a digital operator that delivers a growing range of services to our customers we are investing in leading digital companies like Dastgyr in the countries where we operate. These investments are the building blocks of the digital ecosystem that will enable us to deliver on our strategy,” said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of VEON Ventures.
“Pakistan, with its rapidly growing digital sector, is a key market for VEON. By bringing together Dagstyr’s e-commerce business with Jazz’s communications network and JazzCash’s mobile payments platform, we will catalyse growth in digital services in Pakistan. This would be further enhanced by the digital banking services that we have ambitions to provide,” said Mohd Khairil Abdullah, Chief Executive Officer of VEON Ventures.
Meanwhile, Jazz Chief Executive Officer Aamir Ibrahim said Pakistan’s start-up ecosystem is at a critical juncture and only startups focused on addressing key challenges and adopting localized solutions will survive and thrive.
He said that this investment highlights VEON’s commitment to scaling up Pakistan’s digital economy and provides Dastgyr with a platform to build synergies with Jazz’s subscriber base of 75 million and with JazzCash, further integrating the startup into Pakistan’s fintech ecosystem.
Dastgyr offers businesses a one-stop-shop application that connects thousands of retailers with suppliers to give them access to real-time visibility on pricing and financing rates. Platform partners have included Coca-Cola, Nestle, and Reckitt.
“We are thrilled to achieve this milestone in the current global economic environment. We welcome the new investors to the Dastgyr family as we continue to work relentlessly toward our vision of building an AliBaba for emerging markets worldwide. We’re lucky to have found strategic partners who believe in our mission and have displayed unwavering faith in our team,
“Financial inclusion, which is central to the startup’s mission, will uplift and enable Pakistan’s small- and medium-sized retail entrepreneurs, potentially unlocking up to an additional US$ 10 billion for the country’s Gross Domestic Product, according to our estimates,” said Zohaib Ali, Co-Founder of Dastgyr.
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